They sat and watched as the first few dances of the evening progressed. The bride was as beautiful as she should be, and Joe was more than grateful that Cam took Albert’s place for the duty of the father-bride dance. When it was over and Cam looked from the dance floor to Joe, still slouched in his seat just outside, Joe rose and stomped off into the darkening evening.
Strings of lights had been hung in the trees leading down to the pond, but the narrow path was deserted. The small clearing was ringed with citronella torches, and more lights led off from the far side. Between the trees, Joe could see the water glinting. The place seemed deserted. Just the way he liked it.
They had lucked out with the warmer-than-average weather. It was too early for mosquitoes, and just a bit past blackfly season. The music from the barn was only a faint sound in the distance, barely heard over the songs of the mating bullfrogs. More torches lined the water’s edge, throwing their flickering gold light out across the expanse.
An occasional splash sounded out beyond the reach of the light. In the near dark, the gurgle of the small creek that fed the pond seemed louder than Joe remembered. His boots dislodged the stones of the shore and they clacked together, a quiet counterpoint to the rest of nature’s music.
Joe bent to pick up a few of the smoother, flatter ones. He fitted one into the crook of his index finger and twisted his arm out and around. The stone sailed out over the water in a low arch. He lost sight of it in the darkness, but he heard it splash once. He tried another and a third, but each stone only hit the water with a plop and sank.
“Never were very good at that.” Cam’s voice drifted from the head of the path. He hadn’t ventured out onto the stones, so Joe hadn’t heard his approach. Still, his voice didn’t send a shockwave through Joe. It was as if he had expected the other man to come eventually.
“My dad tried to teach me. We used to come here all the time when I was a kid.”
“You do?” Joe turned to watch Cam saunter across the beach.
Cam’s broad shoulders filled out his suit nicely. He had his hands buried in his pockets, and the jacket was hitched up around them. His tie hung loose around his neck. Joe eyed that tie and a slow slide of want slithered through him.
“Course I do,” Cam said. “I’ve lived on this farm my whole life, remember?”
Joe nodded, because of course he knew that. And he remembered Cam from the years before he had come to live with Aunt Marie and Uncle Albert. Cam had been a farmhand by then. Well, he always had been a farmhand, but Joe had never paid any attention at that young age. It was only when he’d moved into the farmhouse after his parents’ deaths that he’d realized Cam was more than just a regular worker….
Very shortly after Joe had moved here, Cam had proven to be so much more. He’d quickly become Joe’s confidant. His best friend. A lot of things Joe didn’t understand until he began to understand Cam wasn’t the only boy who fascinated him. He was just the one who fascinated Joe the most.
“The lights out here are nice,” Cam said.
“Yeah. Katie thought of everything.”
“I thought more people would be out here enjoying it.”
Joe shrugged. “Dancing is still going strong. Give them time. They’ll start slipping away in pairs soon enough.”
“Hmm.” Cam nodded sagely.
They watched each other in silence for a while. Finally, Cam bent and scooped a few stones from the ground. He flung them, one after the other in quick succession, and they could be heard skipping across the water far into the dark.
“Yeah, well.” Joe kicked at the ground. “Never did get the hang of it.”
Tossing the rocks had brought Cam closer to the shore and closer to Joe. “We all have our different strengths.”
“Sure.” Joe watched as Cam tugged on the loose ends of his tie. The blood rushed in his veins at the thoughts of what Cam could do with that tie. It made his mouth water and his palms sweat. He swallowed that reaction down.
“I rushed you earlier,” Cam said softly.
Joe kept his gaze riveted on the fingers curled tight around the strip of silk.
Joe licked his lips.
“I’ve always been rushing you.”
“Oh?” Cam let go of one end of the tie and pulled it from his neck. He passed it to Joe. “You hang on to this. I can’t be trusted.”
Joe almost smiled. The thing was, Joe knew a lot of men who couldn’t—or shouldn’t have been—trusted. Cam was not on that list. It was Joe and his inability to say no that was the problem. He took the tie anyway.
As if it was some sort of cue, Joe suddenly found he could lift his gaze farther than Cam’s chest. He stared into his friend’s face and found a sweet, longing expression there. That was enough to break down something in Joe that had kept him at a distance.
He took a step, all that was needed to put him inside Cam’s personal space, and tilted his chin up. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t think he had to. A heartbeat later, Cam caressed Joe’s jaw with a touch both firm and gentle.
Cam bent his head. “Joe.”
“Shh.” Joe had to lift up onto his toes to reach. He pressed his lips to Cam’s and tilted his head slightly. It was as though Cam was holding his breath. Waiting. As though he was being extra cautious and still. As though he thought if he moved or breathed, Joe would bolt. Joe pressed forward, pushing his mouth over Cam’s, parting his lips and darting his tongue out to lick lightly.
“Kiss me, idiot,” Joe whispered against his lips. “Kiss me before I start to think again.”
Cam’s fingers grew resolute, traveling farther back to tangle in Joe’s hair. He pulled Joe to him and turned so their mouths slanted over each other and their lips locked. He took control of the hesitant kiss so fast Joe’s head spun.
Grabbing handfuls of Cam’s suit jacket was the only thing keeping Joe grounded. He moaned softly and pushed his tongue past Cam’s lips. The kiss went from tentative to true to tangled in a matter of seconds, and Joe knew if he let go, or if Cam did, he would be lost. He would bolt. He needed the contact, the feel of Cam holding on to him to be brave.
When Cam’s tongue swept into Joe’s mouth, it was over. His will evaporated, and he pressed his body against Cam. He would have burrowed right into him if he could. Cam’s arm went around his waist, and Joe groaned. He could feel Cam’s cock, as solid as his own, digging into his hip.
“I want to fuck you,” Cam growled against his mouth. “I want to lay you out and fuck you ’til I’m all you know, Joe.”
Joe moaned and attempted to crawl up Cam’s body.
“Oh God.” Cam tightened his grip in Joe’s hair, pulling painfully. “Come to bed.”
Joe would have agreed to spread out right there on the unyielding stones if Cam demanded it. He nodded even as Cam took another kiss, another breath, another bit of him.